Commerce Ducks Public in Reporting on Drilling and Marine Areas

WASHINGTON – Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reportedly has submitted an analysis to White House officials on the potential for oil and gas development in some of the nation’s most cherished and protected publicly owned waters.  The move comes after extensive public comment, but the report has not been disclosed to the public.

The following is a statement by Sarah Chasis, director of the Oceans Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“Secretary Ross appears to be working in secret—presumably to unravel ocean protections—just as Interior Secretary Zinke did in hiding his recent memo on national monuments.

“That’s unacceptable.  The American people own these public waters.  They deserve to know what the Commerce Department is doing with them.

“You can’t protect something and subject it to industrial ruin at the same time.  If the administration opens our marine sanctuaries and monuments to drilling, unique species and fragile habitats will be harmed, if not destroyed.  We will fight any attempt by this administration to strip protection from America’s ocean treasures.”

The agency’s report was due today under a deadline set by executive order.  That order is available here.

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